By Melor Suhaimi, MD Programs Manager
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
On Friday December 19th, AALEADers celebrated the holidays at the Holiday Park Senior Center in Wheaton, MD for AALEAD’s MD annual holiday party! 119 AALEAD youth, family, and guests attended the party to enjoy a night of laughs, fun, eating, and performances! For the past few years, AALEAD has hosted the party at the Holiday Park Senior Center where it has been an ideal place to showcase our youth’s talents and to enjoy a night of good food. The night kicked off with a special serenade of “Happy Birthday!” to AALEAD’s Executive Director, Surjeet, because the 19th was her birthday, too! Soon after, AALEAD youth and guests lined up to receive a delicious meal courtesy of Blue Pearl Buffet Restaurant.
Throughout the night as guests walked around the room, they may have noticed special decorations all along the walls. These decorations were made by AALEAD MD’s middle and high school youth during AALEAD’s after-school programs on days leading up to the holiday party. Decorations varied from Frozen characters, The Grinch, to a train headed to The North Pole filled with Pokemon characters! AALEAD youth definitely used their imagination and creativity to create a beautiful holiday-themed setting.
The talent show portion of the holiday party is always the most exciting part! AALEAD’s Parent Outreach Coordinator and one of the MC’s of the night, Charles, described that each and every one of our AALEAD youth is talented in their own way. This is very true and the holiday party is just one of our many events where AALEAD showcases the talent of our amazing youth. Youth performances included singing, dancing, reciting poetry, to a kung fu demonstration. A memorable night of the evening was when HS AALEADer, Dee L. dedicated the song, “Titanium” to AALEAD’s Development & Communications Manager, Sharon. Dee expressed how Sharon was always there for her during her middle school years when Sharon was one of AALEAD’s MD Middle School Program Coordinator at Eastern Middle School. It was such a heartfelt moment and the love was tremendously felt around the room!
All in all, it was a successful and festive night! The holidays are always a great time to see our AALEAD youth gather to enjoy each other’s company and to just remind us that we are an AALEAD family. Special thank you to Robin Riley from Montgomery County Recreation Department, Dolores Ustrell-Roig from Holiday Park Senior Center and Blue Pearl Buffet Restaurant Manager Irma for the Center and food! Have a great holiday and looking forward to the new year!